In the last three years, blog marketing has become part of the mainstream media and the most popular blogs have a built a huge amount of influence over people’s perception of brands.

In May 2007 Engadget, the popular technology blog, posted a rumour that the Apple iPhone would be delayed until October.

The rumour came from a trusted source but was confirmed to be totally incorrect just 20 minutes later.

Unfortunately by then the story had already reached the stock market, causing over $4bn to be wiped off Apple’s market cap before the story was corrected.

At the same time, blogs are an extremely effective marketing tool if used in the right way. A company whose product is featured on a popular blog can expect a huge amount of sales and goodwill, assuming the review is positive.

Some companies such as Stormhoek are blogging themselves in an attempt to build brand loyalty through information.

Stormhoek, a winery, used to sell 40,000 crates of wine a year until they started blogging. That figure is now up to 40,000 crates a week, according to a recent article on Search Engine Guide.

Businesses with a blog have an easy avenue to publish company news and press releases as well as a way to respond to both positive and negative press.

The internet is a conversation and it’s far better to take part than to sit back and listen.